Stories from the grave
OVER 50 enthusiasts walked through the Port Douglas cemetery last weekend to learn about the region’s past as part of Australian Heritage week.
The procession was led by funeral director Stephen Oldham, who said it is important to remember the pioneers, on behalf of the Douglas Shire Historical Society.
Port Douglas was discovered in 1877 and the first person to be buried at the cemetery was George Freshney who died June 22, 1878 at the age of 21. He was a cedar logger in the Daintree.
“We go from the very first person to be buried and stay within a few decades and walk through the old part of the cemetery where all the pioneers are,” Mr Oldham said.
“There are some fantastic characters and it’s a great opportunity to learn where they’re from and who they were - there are so many wonderful stories.
“A lot of them are the forerunners of long standing Mossman and Port Douglas families - Mossman cemetery didn’t open until 1938 so everybody was buried in Port Douglas up until that time.”
The walk went for two hours last Sunday and the historical society’s Pam Willis-burden contributed to the commentary along with Noel Weare and Annette Anich and said everyone “thoroughly enjoyed it”.
’We’ll certainly do it again and we’re also planning a guided walk through the Mossman cemetery in the future,” Ms Willis-burden said.
“Our history is part of who we are and it’s really important to learn and value what people from past times did for us.
“If there are any people with grandparents buried in the pioneer section of Port Douglas cemetery, we’d love to hear their stories.”
If you have stories to share, contact Pam Willis-burden from the Douglas Shire Historical Society on 4098 4900.
Speaking from the grave: funeral director Stephen Oldham